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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Animal Disease Research » Research » Research Project #428607

Research Project: Preventing the Spread of Cattle Fever in Texas: Using Population Genetic Tools to Increase the Effectiveness of Disease Management Efforts

Location: Animal Disease Research

Project Number: 2090-32000-039-09-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Feb 15, 2015
End Date: Feb 14, 2018

Population genetic approaches provide a powerful means to determine the origin and of tick infestations and pathogens within the quarantine zone. These approaches also enable us to track the spread of ticks after an initial infestation, which reveals the ecological pathways (transport via cattle or other hosts) underlying tick movements in Texas. We propose to investigate tick invasion and the relevance of distinct tick infestations with the following specific questions: 1) Do the recent infestations of cattle fever ticks (R. microplus and R. annulatus) originate from persistently-infested premises in Texas or from source populations in Mexico? 2) Which genetic groups of cattle fever ticks are ecologically established in Texas, and does acaricide resistance play a role in their persistence over time? 3) Are there differences in vector competence for bovine babesiosis among major tick genetic groups? (Scoles will primarily be concerned with addressing this 3rd objective)

A suite of molecular tools, comprised of published and in-house developed genetic markers, will be used to amplify genomic DNA of cattle fever ticks collected in Texas and Mexico. The data will be evaluated using population genetic algorithms to determine whether gene pools are similar or different between Texas and Mexico. Live ticks from Genetically distinct populations will be shipped to Scoles for evaluation of reproductive fitness and vector competence for Babesia bovis.